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Weekly Watch> ECONOMY
UPDATED: June 18, 2010 NO. 25 JUNE 24, 2010

READY TO GO: The Hongqiao Station of Beijing-Shanghai High-speed Railway will be officially launched on July 1 to serve the Shanghai Expo. The station, together with Hongqiao Airport's Terminal 2, subway and surface transportation, will form a comprehensive transportation terminal in the Hongqiao area of Shanghai (XINHUA)

Poultry Ban Ruling

The World Trade Organization (WTO) ruled in favor of China in the dispute over the U.S. ban on poultry imports from China in an interim report.

The WTO interim ruling said the U.S. import ban on China's poultry violates the Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures, or the SPS Agreement, which spells out how governments can apply food safety and animal and plant health measures, as well as other treatments or restrictions under the WTO legal framework.

The decision can be appealed, according to WTO rules, but the report will be considered the panel's final verdict if the United States loses the appeal.

The ruling was in response to an appeal China filed in April 2009 to protest a key clause in a 2009 U.S. law that prohibited Chinese exports of poultry.

Dairy Giants

Two Chinese dairy producers, Mengniu and Yili, entered the world's top 20 dairy ranking last year, according to an annual report by Dutch financial group Rabobank.

Mengniu, with a turnover of $3.77 billion in 2009, ranked 16th in the top-20 list, and Yili ranked 17th, with an annual turnover of $3.54 billion last year. While Mengniu, the largest dairy producer in China, moved up in the list by three places compared with its 2008 ranking, Yili, a main rival of Mengniu, was a newcomer in the list.

The ranking marked the first time two Chinese dairy producers entered the world's top 20. Western companies predominantly occupied the list.

The 2009 ranking indicates companies operating in developing markets have ample opportunity to increase sales, thanks to rising domestic demand in the developing world, the report said.

Water Protection

The Chinese Government released a plan to protect drinking water sources in urban areas to guarantee residents' health.

The Urban Drinking Water Sources Protection Plan (2008-20), jointly issued by five ministries including the Ministry of Environmental Protection and the Ministry of Health, will guide environmental protection and pollution control work in drinking water source areas.

Illegal buildings, drain outlets, dumpsites and factories will be removed from such areas under the plan. The total project is estimated to cost 58 billion yuan ($8.5 billion).

Activities that may pollute the water in the protected areas, such as fish farming and swimming, will be banned. Local governments will also launch ecological restoration projects in protected areas. Meanwhile, monitoring and emergency response systems will be enhanced for water quality control and management.

The plan comes after an investigation of water quality at 4,002 centralized drinking water sources in 655 cities and towns nationwide.

Cross-Straits Air Route

A passenger flight took off from Taipei's Songshan Airport and arrived at Shanghai's Hongqiao Airport on June 14, inaugurating a new cross-Straits air route.

The two cities already operate direct flights between their two larger international terminals—Taoyuan Airport in Taipei and Pudong Airport in Shanghai.

Although flight time between Songshan and Hongqiao is 90 minutes, the same as the Taoyuan-Pudong route, passengers will spend less time commuting as both airports are close to their respective downtown areas.

There will be 28 flights per week between the two terminals, half operated by Taiwan airlines and half by mainland airlines.

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